Tag Archives: Speyside

Glenrothes 1995 (Bottled 2013)


Glenrothes 1995 (Bottled 2013) Taste ProfileStats – 43% alcohol, mix of 70% refill cask and 30% sherry treated cask aging
Price – $115
Color – Light straw
Nose – Malt, apples, and pear
Palate – From the well recognized Speyside distillery, Glenrothes, which makes the backbone of the Cutty Sark blend. This mild-mannered single malt is honey sweet and light. Warm rye bread and pepper open up at the half-way point. Dry oak and a cashew nuttiness. But it is fruity as well with white peaches and lime zest. Whole cinnamon sticks and deep barrel char warm it up while a fresh heather note tone it down. Subtle and pleasant, a real charming drink sip after sip.

Glenrothes 1995 (Bottled in 2013) Tastes Like:

  1. Cardhu 12 Year Old (90%)
  2. Edradour 10 Year Old – 1999 Sauternes Cask (88%)
  3. Breckenridge Bourbon (86%)

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Old Ballantruan – The Peated Malt


Old Ballantruan - The Peated Malt Taste ProfileStats – 50% alcohol, distilled at Tomintoul, Speyside
Price – $55
Color – Amber
Nose – Rich warm peat with wet campfire and charcoal
Palate – Some argue that you’ve got to take the bad with the good, that the duality of the universe requires this balance with equal parts yin to equal parts yang. For peated whisky lovers this often meant taking the heavy iodine, or “band-aid”, flavor with the deep earthy smoke. Since most peated whisky hails from the small island of Islay, it is hard to avoid the coastal notes from infusing with the whisky, after all, we are a product of our environment. But move the process to another whisky producing region and maybe you can have your cake and eat it too. Old Ballantruan is made at the Tomintoul distillery in the Speyside region. It’s ashy and rich, the peat smoke doesn’t leap out but rather smolders throughout. It’s sweet and honeyed with buttery toffey, and then the earthy and sooty quality takes over. The finish is tangy and a tad bitter, but remains pleasant and smooth. There is also a minty freshness in the backdrop of this whisky. As expected, this one chisels out the sea-side iodine flavor, but keeps the meaty and smoky facets we love. We’ll leave settling the resulting karmic debt of taking too much yin between you and the universe.

Old Ballantuan – The Peated Malt Tastes Like:

  1. Yoichi 12 Year (95%)
  2. Kilchoman – Machir Bay (86%)
  3. Ardbeg Uigeadail (84%)

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Cragganmore 12 Year


Cragganmore 12 Year Taste ProfileStats – 40% alcohol, Sherry cask matured, Speyside
Price – $50
Color – Honey
Nose – Malt, floral heather, and a slight green mint
Palate – Grace is hard to define, but easy to see. It is a tenuous balance of understated elegance and unmissable presence. Marlene Dietrich once said, “Courage and grace is a formidable mixture.” Cragganmore‘s 12 year (part of Diageo’s ever expanding portfolio of Scothches) manages to walk this line, it is light and easy to drink, but is also full of intricacy. Soft honeycomb sweetness at the start, the body begins to build with rich molasses and brown sugar as well as undertones of oak and vanilla. The finish has a slight kick of black pepper and camphor. This is rounded out by some dry and bitter dark chocolate. This is a pleasant combination of barrel char, peat smoke, honey, and grassy hay notes. The Sherry cask finishing doesn’t come through on this one, but it is still a solid whisky with complex flavors that don’t overpower.

Cragganmore 12 Year Tastes Like:

  1. Bunnahabhain 12 Year (83%)
  2. Port Charlotte – The Peat Project (82%)
  3. Longrow – Gaja Barolo (81%)

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Cragganmore 1993 – The Octave


Cragganmore 1993 - The Octave Taste ProfileStats – 54.8% alcohol, finished for 12 months in reconstructed ex-Sherry Octave cask (which is 1/8th the size of a normal Sherry Butt), Speyside
Price – $150
Color – Very dark auburn
Nose – Sticky sweet and fruity
Palate – Why mess with success? That’s the mantra of many whisky makers. But you have to hand it to Duncan Taylor, who have taken some of the finest whiskies made by some of the best around and decided, “This could be better.” Moving in this case a Cragganmore originally distilled in 1993 into a small ex-Sherry Octave cask for a finishing touch for another year. Their courage has been rewarded because this whisky is unbelievably rich and fills the mouth with caramel and dry dark chocolate. Figs and raisins just pour out of every sip, there is no mistaking the extra time spent in a Sherry cask. There’s also a lot of Bourbon qualities to the sweetness. The complexity goes up a notch just before the finish with hints of nutmeg, clove, and fresh green mint. The finish goes on for what feels like hours with robust fruit-cake flavors and a return of the figs. This whisky is filled with charm and is worth tracking down one of the scant handful of bottles made for anyone who loves their drinks sweet.

Alternatives:

  1. Mortlach 17 Year – AD Rattray (90%)
  2. Dry Fly – Port Finished Wheat Whiskey (86%)
  3. Sullivans Cove – Double Cask (82%)

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Mortlach 17 Year – AD Rattray


Mortlach 17 Year - AD Rattray Taste Profile

Stats – 58% alcohol, 1995 – 2013, cask 3428, Speyside
Price – $130
Color – Dark amber
Nose – Raisins and brown sugar
Palate – From independent bottler A.D. Rattray who are well respected for releasing rare and exclusive expressions from distilleries across Scotland, in this case from Mortlach. Wow! This is incredibly fruity and sweet. It’s also beautifully rich and sumptuous. Dates and honey drenched figs just pour out of this Speyside gem. This finish is long and sweet with raw honey and caramel. If you like sweet and fruity whisky, then track this one down you won’t be disappointed. You can pick this one up online at Binny’s.

Alternatives:

  1. Cragganmore 23 Year – The Octave (90%)
  2. Dry Fly – Port Finish Wheat Whiskey (87%)
  3. Willett Single Barrel Rye (85%)

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